Meet The Developers: David Okuniev Of Typeform

Last week on Web.Appstorm we looked at Typeform, an app for creating forms. Forms are key to great user communication about everything from how your site should be structured to where you should be focusing your work. Typeform has completely reinvented the way online forms work, making the process of filling in forms fun.

David Okuniev is the product leader at Typeform, and has kindly given his time to talk to us. In this interview, David discusses the origins of Typeform as well as looking at what the future may hold for their team. Read on to see our conversation and learn how Typeform really came to be what it is today. Also, we’ve got some Typeform invites, so if you’d like to get one, keep reading to see how you can be one of the first to try it out.

Thanks David for taking the time out to talk to us. Could you start by telling us a bit about yourself and your team?

I’m a British/Belgian Ui-Ux designer/Entrepreneur living in Barcelona, Spain. I’m married to my wife with 2 gorgeous & boysterous boys.

I’m a chocolate junky. I enjoy wine & clowning around. My mission is to make people’s life online easier, whilst making my own more complicated.

In Typeform, I oversee (with Robert Muñoz, my co-founder) all aspects of the platform, but I’m especially dedicated to the front-end of the project: the Typeforms.

I have a small but awesome team of local young guys, who are committed to making this service fly. You’ll sometimes find us after work playing “Lazer Quest” and doing tequila shots.

Where did your original idea for Typeform come from? Was it something you created to solve a problem you had experienced?

The original idea was born out of a project I was involved in a few years ago with Robert Muñoz, the co-founder of Typeform.

At the time, we were both running digital service agencies offering design and web development (Fat-man Collective & Pulpolab). The project in question, involved us having to think up a solution for capturing visitor’s personal details on a screen, in a permanent exhibition space. As you can imagine, getting people to fill in forms can be a problem, especially in an exhibition environment. We had to come up with something that was more eye catching and engaging than your typical webform.

So we built something very simple, interactive, without input/check boxes, using bigger typography. We also wanted the user not to have to use a mouse to interact. Funnily enough, the inspiration for what we built actually came from War Games.

Once we finished the project, we realised we were onto something. So we continued to push the Typeform idea further, gradually ploghing in people from our agencies into the project. Eventually Typeform became a fully fledged startup in it’s own right.

From original idea to beta, how long did it take to get Typeform fully functioning?

We started working full-time on this about 2 years ago. Beforehand, were just prototyping.

Typeform is just beautiful.

There’s so many form apps online, most notably Wufoo and Polldaddy, but then even Google Docs and Office Web Apps have form tools. Why did your team think Typeform had a chance at gaining marketshare in such a crowded field?

I agree with you the online form/survey building market is totally saturated. You can’t image how many services are out there offering the same thing. However, all these services are essentially offering your regular run of the mill HTML form with the typical dull user experience of filling in input boxes, ticking checkboxes etc…

All the forms that these services produce are relics from the past. Let’s face it: how much has the online form evolved since the internet first started taking off? If you compare the evolution of web design to the evolution of form design, you might wonder what happened.

What we’ve done, is to take the best practices of UI and UX web design and brought them into form design. We’ve also made a lot of headway into solving the problem of interacting with forms on touch screens (forms we’re never conceived with touch technology in mind). So, although we find ourselves today in a very crowded market, we’re able offer users something that no other form building service can currently offer.

Which is harder: optimizing Typeform to work great with keyboards, or making it just as slick on touch screens?

Touch screens are the biggest challenge, and developing for them involves a huge amount of testing. Each platform and device has it’s nuances, and we have to find ways around those in order to bring Typeforms to any given device. The work is never ending, believe me.

We made our own Typeform here at Web.Appstorm! Check it out!

On an average day, what web apps do you and your team use in your general workflow?

We organise absolutely everything using Trello. We couldn’t possibly live without it. I personally think there is no better project management tool out there and it works great for agile development teams such as ourselves. I simply love it.

What does the future look like for Typeform, and are you planning to work on any more apps?

We’ve always felt that Typeforms could go where no forms have been before. And since we’ve never been tied down to the rigid design and user experience rules that come with standard HTML form elements, we can start becoming much more diverse and flexible in the types of questions we will allow our users to build into their Typeform. The sky is the limit.

Wrap Up

We’d like to extend a special Thank You to David and the members of the Typeform team for taking the time to do this interview. Typeform is a fantastic application which has a great team behind it. We at Web.Appstorm wish the team the best of luck for the future!

If you haven’t read Matthew Guay’s review of Typeform yet, be sure to give it a read. We’ve also got 50 invites to Typeform for our readers, so if you’d like to get one, just leave a comment below, and we’ll be sending the invites out throughout this week!